The scientist beamed proudly at the viewer. "I call it... A space whale."
Mr. Devonshire steepled his fingers on his desk as he quirked an eyebrow. "Yes, I can see why. And it eats garbage, correct?"
"Its bigger than the moon! It's capacity far exceeds what you asked for," the scientist blurted. "It can travel between the planets using its solar fins. The space whale can take care of all our space junk problems. And the best part?"
"Frank, you're pausing dramatically again. Please just tell me the best part."
"Well, Bill, the best part is that you only need one!"
"We contracted you to design a garbage-eating space animal that could be replicated at will, depending on the needs of a colony. We'll want more than one."
"Yes, but you'll only need one. The prototype is pregnant."
"Pregnant? But there's only one prototype."
"Correct! But the XXYY genes used allowed the specimen to--"
Mr. Devonshire unsteepled his fingers to raise a hand. "Enough. We asked for a sterile unit."
"I thought it was sterile! This is quite a surprise! A revolutionary break-through!"
"So... This is the good news you came to tell me?"
Frank opened his mouth to say yes, but he sensed that something had gone afoul in their negotiations.
"Terminate it. We can't have moon-sized space whales propogating across the galaxy. We'll never be able to charge the colonists for them."
"But..." The scientist's lip trembled. "You want me to kill Gertrude? And her babies?"
"You... You named the whale?"
Frank nodded. "Her name's on all the reports," he mumbled absently.
"Yes, I know, but I thought it stood for something. Like, uh, Garbage-Eating Replicated... Uh..."
"No!" Frank shouted, startling both men. "Gertrude and her offspring are not for sale!" He ran out of the room, then, leaving only the picture of the space whale blinking on Mr. Devonshire's screen.
The picture wasn't supposed to be blinking. Bill hit a button on his desk. "Debbie? Get security to check Frank's office. I want him brought back here to honor his contract."
"Sir, the department of defense is on the line. Something about the moon getting... Eaten?"